With a career spanning over 30 years, Paula Pryke is one of a handful of British florists to have become a household name. Her latest book, Floristry Now is a love letter to flowers, offering almost 300 pages of pure inspiration for novices and enthusiasts alike. But it’s much more than just a pretty coffee table tome, full of joyful colour, clever ideas and indispensable tips, it’s also an authoritative book that you’ll come back to again and again. Pryke takes us through how to find inspiration (and what inspires her), floral trends and design ideas – from shape and structure to texture and scale. There are step-by-step bouquets and arrangements to, plus a detailed examination of flowers across different colour groups – guaranteed you’ll won’t look at a supermarket bunch of flowers the same way ever again! To give you a taste of Floristry Now, we quizzed Paula Pryke on all things floral…
Look for inspiration everywhere
Nature is the best inspiration and I get lots of ideas from walking my chocolate labradors and just enjoying the outdoors. I like natural flowers at home and I either pick from my garden or take leftovers home. When a new variety comes onto the market, I usually try it out at home first.
Think about making an impact
The simplest way to make an impact is a mass of flowers in one shade, adding a bright pop of colour to your room. The other great way is to create a striking display is to get a bunch of ten stems of flowers and place them individually in tall bottles or simple containers. This is very effective on a budget too!
Displaying your flowers
Most supermarket flowers are between 45 and 60 cm in length and so a 18 – 20 cm vase is the most popular and useful. I adore simple tank vases and small fishbowls which hold the flowers well. My favourite vase is the Alvar Altar Cloud vase which is fabulous with tulips and spring flowers.
Flowers on a budget
Buy the flowers that are in season and mass them together. You can also buy plants or bulbs and display them on your tables or window sills. Never be afraid of the single flower as that is also effective, and I really like to float flower heads too! Chrysanthemums are good value, as are foliage and twigs.
Grow Your Own
Bulb flowers are easy to grow at home, and flowering shrubs are good too. Sweet peas are easy to sow from seed and beautifully fragrant, and roses are also a fabulous plant to grow for cut flowers. Some plants such as dahlias will give you lots of blooms, making them excellent value too.
What about long-lasting flowers?
Some of the most expensive flowers last the longest and so, ironically, turn out to be good value. Some cut orchids can last weeks and some anthuriums too. Amaryllis and top quality oriental lilies also make two weeks easily – something to bear in mind when you look at the price tag.
Grasses and branches – passé or pretty?
All foliage arrangements are very fashionable right now and plants are having a major moment too. Grasses and branches are also very popular at the moment – anything that looks natural hits the spot.
My favourite spring flowers
Ranunculus. I owe my career to these pretty flowers which come in a myriad of colours and look their very best the day before they die.
Paula Pryke’s new book Floristry Now is published by Jacqui Small, an imprint of The Quarto Group, and is available to buy online here.